Day 25. July 8.
This day we officially entered the Badlands and North Dakota! Wooooohoooo! A new state! Yippee! It feels so good to have Montana behind us and to be getting closer to the Midwest.
We left Glendive after a breakfast of cinnamon rolls, watermelon and cereal. It was great to have all that food to fuel up for our 66 mile day. We headed out of Glendive and crossed the Yellowstone River, which was brown and yucky, but still cool. As soon as we got out of town we got on I-94 and headed east. 94? Like the highway? Yep! It’s actually legal to ride your bike on the interstate in Montana and North Dakota. It’s not our favorite thing to do, but we actually feel pretty safe. There is always 6-8ft of shoulder and rumble strips between you and the road. On a lot of country roads there’s literally no shoulder.
It was pretty strange taking the on-ramp to get on the highway. It felt like we were breaking the rules and like every car that went by was like “what are these people doing?” I think we ended up passing some biker going the other way that day, so that made us feel better. The ride on the highway that day was pretty good. There were a few bigger hills, but they are very gradual and didn’t take that much engery to go over (though I was still in a very low gear).
Eventually we crossed the border into North Dakota and stopped take a picture with the sign. We had a lovely conversation with a construction worker there and got back on the road. The construction was nice because they had the whole left lane blocked so we rode over there for a while. T’was lovely.
When we were about halfway, we stopped for lunch at Subway. We shared a sub and didn’t get any cookies (I was pretty bummed), but we left feeling full and satisfied anyway. A few miles after Subway we started to near the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The land pretty much immediately gives way to beautiful canyons and hills as you enter the badlands. We really had no idea how pretty it was there and will definitely need to make a trip back.
Our destination was Medora, which is right at the entrance to the park. There is a host who lives in Medora, but they never responded to Ethan’s request. When we got into town we saw the campground, but it was going $20 for the night and Ethan wanted to make sure there were no other cheaper options. We headed to the park entrance, but it was going to cost us $20 to get in to the park and then another $10 to camp, so that wouldn’t be worth it. Ethan checked on the one other campground in the town and I’m not sure how much it was but we ended up going back to the first one. Medora is a cute little “Western” town, but it’s a tourist town so everything is a bit pricey. Before we headed back we went to the convenience store for additional dinner food.
We got back to the campground and reluctantly paid the $20. At first they tried to put us at a site with no shade and that was not going to work for me, so they moved us. We ended up 1 site over from another group of bikers, so we were pretty happy about that. It was three guys and they had all started out separately, but ended up kind of biking together. They were really nice and Ethan chatted with them about their routes while I blogged. The best part about paying $20 to camp was the showers (they were not worth $20, but it is the best thing ever to shower after biking all day).
It was a tough day, but we were so glad to get to North Dakota that we barely noticed.